• Pages

  • Activities and Competitions

    Organizing activities and competitions can be fun but there are times you need some fresh input. In the activity drop-down menu below, you can find heaps of ideas. What about a Paper Plane Competition?
  • Activities

  • TIP: Think inside the hat!

    Party hats, store-bought or made from pages of an old book or scrap paper are very useful for a display. You can staple the hat to the board as a container for whatever you want to showcase. Or hang them in front of the board filled with little notes, poems, toy animals or whatever takes your fancy
  • TIP: Staple at an angle

    Removing old display items will be much easier when you hold the stapler at an angle when you tack items to the board. The staples will stick out at one side - perfect to get hold of and pull them out when you change displays.
  • TIP: Use a glue gun

    Glue guns are the most fantastic tools for creating displays. You can attach all sorts of materials like hard plastic, metal, fabric and everything else you can think off. Be careful with your fingers (blow - blow) the glue is very hot and you easily get blisters
  • TIP: Create a 3D effect!

    Create a 3D effect by hanging objects in front of the display board, like fish in a Sea Life display or lanterns in a Spring or Garden display.
  • TIP: Don’t overdue it!

    Too much text, images or books on display too close together distract the eye. It all becomes a blur. Each object needs its own space. Think of a shop window that is more than full with appliances, you can’t distinguish one object from the other, while carefully placed objects attract the attention.

Reading Challenges and Competitions

To stimulate reading and make it a fun activity you can incorporate these activities into your Library sessions:

Speed BookingDepending on the class or group size, gender and year level, the organiser needs to select enough books to choose from. This can be fiction or non-fiction or both.  Ask in advance how many students/readers you will cater for. Select at least 3 books per reader. Spread the books over a number of tables; 24 students is around 5 or 6 tables. Divide the readers in groups. Number the students (out loud) so they can’t congregate with their favorite mates.

 Number the groups and number the tables and let each group stand around their table. Ring the bell (use a spoon in a glass or a whistle) Each group has 2 minutes (or 1 or 3 depending on concentration span) to select a book from their table. Ring the bell after 2 minutes and guide each group to the next table; group 1 to table 2 –  group 2 to table 3 etc. Each reader takes their chosen book to the next table. At the next table they can decide whether they want to keep their book or exchange it for a more interesting title. They can only take 1 book to the next table and they can’t go to the next table without a book. 

After the readers have visited all the tables they’ll have ended up with their final choice. That is the book they are going to read; in the Library/class over the next period or to have it issued and taken home. It’s always a success. Readers are exposed to lots of books they otherwise would ignore. It’s fun and it’s action so the boys love it as well.

Genre Game – Before you do this game it’s best to have discussed the genres with that group before you start. What is  dystopian, what are their characteristics, what book have you read that is historical fiction…. So the students have already some insight about genres. To reinforce the gained knowledge you can do this game in a follow up lesson:

Buy, borrow or beg items that represent the genres you are going to explain: Smiley face on a hat for humor, a battery operated sword with glowing green tip for Dystopia, fur dog from the op shop for Animals, ……let your imagination run wild. 

1st part:

Divide the readers in groups of 4 or 5. Each group sits around a table close enough to be able to see and hear you – a podium works wonders. Explain what is going to happen. First the guessing of genres and after that the selection of 2 books (or 4 depending on time and enthusiasm) of different genres. Tell them that at the end of the session you’re going to make a group photo where the students can show the genre items – (have your camera ready) Let them choose the representative.

In front of the group –  Hold up the first item. Ask what genre it represents. Start a discussion- what were the characteristics again? Can they name a title that will fit this genre?…..When all genres have been discussed your students are ready for the next step. Using the digested information to make informed decisions. Keep track of the time, these discussions can be very time-consuming.

2nd part:

Type and print in advance a required number of excel sheets, with columns for genre, characteristic and title of book and a row for each genre. Let the students choose a representative for their group (he or she will answer questions at the end of the session) and have that noted down at the bottom of the sheet.

With the genre items ready and the excel sheets and pencils at hand you can start the session.

Hand out the excel sheets plus pencils – each group gets 1 excel sheet plus a pencil for each representative. Each group has to find 2 or 3 books from different genres. Explain that they have to take the books to their table and write down what genre it is, at least 2 characteristics of that genre and write down the title of the book they chose. Give them 10 minutes to do this. There will be lots of running around at this stage.

When the students choose books and are writing, you have the time to arrange all genre items on a table for when you are going to make a group photo.

Ask for attention after 7 minutes and tell them they have only 3 more minutes to finish their sheet. Ring the bell, shout, blow the whistle and send them all to their allocated table when the time is up. Have the first leader stand up, holding up the book so everybody can see it, while explaining what genre it is and why. Allow enough time for all groups to have their books shown; at least 5 minutes for each group.

At the end of the session, when all groups have discussed their books, allow for 2 extra minutes to make a group photo with the students holding the genre items. Make a couple of photos – a serious and a funny one where everybody sticks out their tongue or looks cross-eyed. Email it to their teacher or put it on the school blog. Success assured!!!

Monopoly Reading GameCan be played by 4 or 6 students at a time. Copy the covers of lots of books and put them board-like on a large table. Have more copies of books available for when the dice rolls on the cover of the book and the student takes away the copy to remember what book was appointed.

Make special events for the corners of the board, like in the real Monopoly. That can be doing something like finishing a quote. Have quizzes and questions incorporated in the board for the stations and prison. Use 2 large dice and let the students start. They have to read one of the books they pass during the trip. To keep track of what books they landed on they select the paper copies until after the game. Keep extra copies of books to replace the empty space.

They have to answer questions, make an anagram or solve a Rebus when on a station or other special place and if they don’t know it they have to skip one round. You can decide in advance how many rounds you are going to play. If you have a class it might only be 2 or three rounds. If students have collected lots of fiction you can give them the choice of what they are going to read, returning the copy to you while they get the book. This game involves a bit of preparation but once you have it organized you can use the copies and questions multiple times for different classes or groups.

Because you can incorporate whatever quiz or number game you want, a wider range of students will enjoy it. Some are good at answering literature questions and some are better at the quizzes or number games. But in the end they all end up with a book they have to read!

6 Word Book Review – See display: The Power Of Six. Have lots of colourful notes available. Ask the students to write the title of their favorite book on the top of  the note and underneath to write a 6 word review. It doesn’t need to be a sentence. It can be 6 individual words giving an impression of the book.

Tell the students that it is not about giving an exact description of the story. You can’t in six words; but you can give an impression or the feeling of the story….

If they want to sign it with their name that’s fine but if they want to do it anonymously that’s OK as well. Many students prefer that.

Read some aloud before they begin to give them an idea of how it could be:

Some examples I love:

Boy in striped Pajamas: Nazi’s from a different perspective

Butter: You should never eat yourself to death

Cherub series: James Bond child style Angels unite

Mortal Instruments – City of Bones: They’re brother and sister; why, how?

Gone series: Adults gone but we are trapped

The hidden child: The mystery is never in history

The hunger games: Escape might not be so simple

Staple or paste the notes to a board so all students can read it. You can copy the front page of the cover of the book and staple it next to it.

If you want to make it a competition you need to appoint a judge and have a prize. Have the best 5 – 10 reviews printed on A3 and laminated and put in a dominant space on the wall.

Book Lovers’ WeekCarole Gardiner, Librarian from Queen’s High School in Dunedin organized the following activities during their Book Lovers’ Week:

Blind Date With A BookIncredibly popular with over a hundred mystery books being issued during a week.  – 

Guess The ReaderThe students have to guess which person is hiding behind a book.

Books We Love – Students and staff helped creating heart-shaped post-it notes with titles of the books they love.

Childhood Favorites – Staff shared their most loved children’s book in a vintage display.

You can check out Carole’s blog. For more info and photos: caroleg@queens.school.nz

Thank you Carole for allowing me to display your ideas (:-)

Love Letters to a (famous) Book Character


Is the ancient art form of handwriting dying out? Have your students write a love letter to a book character they fell in love with and have it sent to the Library. The envelope and stamp give it extra substance. Publish the letter on a board and on your school or Library Blog or scan it and email it to the author who created the character.

Comments are closed.